Ann Noble Obituary


Ann Noble9th December 1942 – 9th December 2016

PhD, B Arch, MA Sociology,
Dip. Town Planning, RIBA

AfH Past President

An original founder member of Architects for Health, Former Chair and subsequently Life President, Dr Ann Noble has died peacefully after a long illness. She had a distinguished career in practice, teaching and lecturing internationally and had collaborated with and advised many leading practices including Ted Cullinan, SOM and HOK.

Ann Peerless was brought up in Somerset and studied at Bristol University, where she met her future husband, Paul, both reading architecture. She gained an MA in Sociology from the University of Essex in 1967, registered as an RIBA Chartered Architect in 1971, gained a Diploma in Town Planning from the then Polytechnic of Central London in 1974 and a PhD from Bristol in 1988.

Following three years working in Libya on social housing, Ann began Research & Development work for the Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS) Hospital Building Programme. Thus began a lifelong interest and passion for healthcare architecture, taking her to the very top of that profession and international acclaim.

For thirteen years from 1976, Ann was engaged with research and teaching at the Medical Architecture Research Unit and there established an advisory and facilitating service for General Practice Premises, and other primary care building developments for Inner London. At MARU, she was pivotal in teaching and mentoring the Masters Degree course in health facility planning, attracting students from across the globe.

Ann Noble Architects was established in 1989 and became renowned for expert advice and sound knowledge as well as designing and delivering a range of highly regarded healthcare buildings. The practice continued to gain commissions for assessment and evaluation, a mainstay of Ann’s belief in the value of structured research to inform decisions and future schemes.

Ann’s research portfolio is extensive and a continuing thread through her career, from a survey of shantytown dwellers in Benghazi and Tripoli for the Libyan Ministry of Housing in 1970 through to evaluation of wards, whole hospitals and dozens of primary care centres to patient safety research in 2007. Many of her papers were published by MARU and the Nuffield Trust book “50 Years of Ideas in Health Care Buildings” which Ann co-authored in 1999 is a definitive review of healthcare over the lifetime of the NHS.

Around 1990, as most in-house healthcare design services were abolished by the government, a small group of likeminded architects and others set up Architects for Health, as a means of continuing a thread of mutual learning and information sharing across the professions. Ann was among those early pioneers and the organisation grew in stature and membership. Professor Raymond Moss held the chairmanship until 1998 when Ann Noble was elected to that position, which she held for ten years.

During Ann’s tenure, Architects for Health developed a vibrant and varied programme of events for members, attracting guest speakers from across the healthcare world. The international visit programme was inaugurated by Ann, the most notable of which was a study visit to Japan in 2005 by a group of members and hosted by the Japan Institute of Healthcare Architects. That relationship is particularly poignant as the lead host was Professor Yusushi Nagasawa, who had been one of Ann’s students on the MARU course some years earlier.

In 2009, Ann received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Building Better Healthcare Awards. Her citation includes this sentiment; “Ann has devoted her professional life to promoting excellence in healthcare environments”. Those words reflect a career, a lifelong passion and a depth of knowledge and dedication which her friends and colleagues will recognise. Ann’s influence and determination, imparted with kindness and good humour, has been the inspiration for many in the professions she worked with and knew.

Ann married Paul Noble in 1966 and they had a son, Jacob and a daughter Sophie, both of whom practice as professionals in the built environment. Behind the consummate professional, Ann was the caring matriarch of a loving and close family who enjoyed each other’s company at home and on fondly remembered holidays. The birth of her grandchildren was a source of great pleasure to Ann in her latter years.

Ann gave of her time and experience freely, mentoring and advising colleagues and protégés alike. She had the rare capacity of understanding healthcare architecture comprehensively and the rare gift of encouraging and enthusing others towards greater excellence in that field.

To make a donation to the Alzheimers Research Trust in Ann’s memory, please go to this web address where detailed instructions are available.

David Alan Hutchison MBE, RIBA, BA [Hons. UCL]

David Alan Hutchison MBEDavid Hutchison, whose name and achievements will be familiar to many members of Architects for Health and other healthcare professionals, has died aged 78.

David was instrumental in establishing HLM’s significant portfolio and design reputation within the UK healthcare sector in particular, and became a charismatic mentor and role model for many of the talented young architects and designers who were employed by the Practice during the period of his leadership, and who have subsequently gone on to become respected healthcare architects in their own right. Continue reading

Peter Scher Obituary

It is a great sadness to announce the sudden death of Peter Scher.

Born in the Jewish East End, Peter was the only son of Isaac, an artist and Elizabeth, a seamstress. His grandparents, Israel and Leah had arrived in Britain in 1900 from Lithuania to build a better and safer life. Evacuated from London to a ‘safer` Sheffield (which was blitzed heavily on the night of their arrival!), Peter was awarded a scholarship to Christ Hospital Public School in 1943 where he excelled, and which nurtured and developed his lifelong interest in everything. At the age of seventeen he started his studies for an architecture degree at the Bartlett School of Architecture in the University of London. This was interrupted by his call-up to undertake National Service, which he refused as a conscientious objector. This resulted in him being posted as a hospital porter for two years, the loss of his right to vote for five years, and in  his never being able to serve on a jury. Continue reading

Phil Gusack Obituary



It is sad to report the death of Phil Gusack who passed away peacefully on the 9th of November 2011 at the age of 63.

Phil was the complete architect, living and breathing his chosen occupation. With a highly creative mind and an inclination towards lateral thinking he was an engaging and challenging companion and good fun.

The only son of a doctor, he was born and brought up in Sunderland and showed early artistic talent and a determined interest in becoming an architect. Pursuing this desire, he went to Liverpool University to study Architecture from 1967 – 1970, but any further progress there was interrupted by the student rebellion that took place and in which he took part, ending up as one of the small group of students who were sent down by the University.

However, it could be said that at this point he achieved his highest national profile, appearing, to the surprise of many, including his parents, on the front page of the then Manchester Guardian.

He then came to London where he worked initially as an assistant to Alvin Boyarsky and then with the Architects at the Department of Health and Social Security.  At the same time he pursued his studies at the AA, gaining his Diploma in 1974. While working in the DHSS on the Harness Hospital Building System he met George Agron from Marcini and Patterson Architects in Berkley, USA, and was invited to join the firm to work on the Veteran Hospitals programme in which they were involved.

This was the beginning of Phil’s travels and work in many countries. He enjoyed everything about America and its culture and he worked there, in California and New York, for ten years before returning to the UK in the 1980s. From here, where he had become a Director at Fitch, he left for St Vincent in the Caribbean and then, in the late 1990s he moved to Poland.

Wherever Phil went he made good friends. Although he was not always able to keep in touch from abroad, the moment he returned anywhere he was on the phone to say Hi, I’m back! He researched, planned, designed and built a wide range of projects, not just hospitals, in the UK, USA, West Indies and Eastern Europe. One of his more recent projects, Tulipan House, a 20,000m² office development in Warsaw, has recently received an award.

Phil was based in Poland when his health worsened, forcing a return to the UK in 2003. Despite these problems and his loss of sight, his interests, enthusiasm and creativity did not diminish. It was typical of his character and dedication to the pursuit of his profession and his wide ranging interests in the world of ideas that the obstacles created by his illness were seen by him as challenges to be overcome: where others would have faltered he continued with determination and, amongst other enterprises, responded to two opportunities to participate in ideas competitions for future hospitals. The first of these was for Riga in Latvia, and the second for a hypothetical site in Holland. Both were well received and gave him the opportunity to see a number of his European friends.

He became an active and helpful member of Architects for Health, frequently writing up reports on events for placement on its website. His visit last year to Brazil with colleagues from Architects for Health produced an entertaining video about their trip to Brasilia and its architect, Oscar Niemeyer. This was shown in his absence at the society’s meeting at the Brazilian Embassy, and he was pleased to know that it was well received

More recently he was able to visit Israel and, despite his lack of sight, managed through his many contacts and friends, to travel round and visit a number of hospitals. It pleased him immensely, that while he was there, he was invited to give a lecture on architecture in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

His final achievement was his contribution to the winning design in the international competition for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in Johannesburg, which is to be built in 2014. He had great respect and admiration for Nelson Mandela and said that what he really wanted was to have had the opportunity to meet him and shake his hand. Yes, and maybe a photo shot too!

It was a measure of Phil’s ability to win the life-long loyalty of his friends that, while over seventy of them were able to attend his funeral two days after his death, a large number of those who were unable to get there gathered in January to hold a wake simultaneously in London and New York to celebrate his life and honour his parting.

Phil Gusack 11.4.1948 – 9.11.2011